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BA History and German / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
A Transnational History of Europe in the Short Twentieth Century, c.1917-1991
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
A Transnational History of Europe in the Short Twentieth Century explores the devastations of the short twentieth century in Europe and asks how Europeans experienced this rollercoaster century. The course’s chronology is framed by events including the Russian revolution, the emergence of totalitarian dictatorships, the Second World War, post-war reconstruction, the Cold War, European integration and the fall of the Iron Curtain. Instead of simply offering a conventional narrative, the course highlights overarching themes in the history of Europe that cut across national boundaries, including migration, decolonisation, and globalisation. Exploring the close links between political ideas and social developments, the course surveys how changing and conflicting political ideologies – fascism, state socialism or the welfare state – and population movements caused by armed conflict have shaped European society at different times.
The aims of this course are:
- To introduce students to a broad range of relevant themes and historiographical debates associated with the political and social history of twentieth century Europe;
- To introduce students to critical concepts relating to contemporary social history;
- To encourage students to adopt a critical perspective to their own understanding of European political and social history;
- Provide students with a range of background knowledge and tools that can be deployed at levels 3 and 4.
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching is delivered via 2 hours of lecture, one hour of seminar instruction, and an additional office hour on a weekly basis.
All the support materials for the course will be on BB, and the written assessment will be submitted and returned via this medium.
Covid-19 Contingency Plans for Online Teaching:
If necessary, weekly seminars can be held online via Blackboard Collaborate: this allows live discussions and sharing of slides and other teaching materials with students.
All key readings for seminars will be available online and a large number of primary sources can be made available via weblinks or scans on Blackboard, which means that all teaching materials (including resources for briefing papers) can be accessed remotely by students.
If necessary, the two-hour written exam can be held as an open book exam over two days.
Knowledge and understanding
- Demonstrate an increased capacity to examine and evaluate the interactions between social, political and economic processes
- Demonstrate deeper and more accurate comprehension of key events, structures, and processes in the history of twentieth-century Europe
- Evaluate the ways in which historians choose and use their sources
- Hone skills of analysis and critical reasoning via a range of forms of written assessment
- Understand ways in which theoretical perspectives influence historical research
- Analyse the relationship between politics, economics and society in twentieth-century Europe
extend and apply oral and group skills by participating in and leading seminar discussions
write reflective, considered, and well-structured pieces of assessed work applicable to analytic and persuasive communication in a range of professional venues
Construct an argument in a closed on-campus exam under time pressure
Transferable skills and personal qualities
- Work independently, both within seminars and through individual research
- Experience and training in teamwork, argument and debate, as well as time management
- As a second-year History course unit, the course provides expert training in - analysis and critical reasoning. - developing important transferable skills in communication and presentation; argument and debate; teamwork; research and time management. - developing concise and critical written analysis.
|Written assignment (inc essay)||30%|
Formative or Summative
Written feedback and individual discussion (by appointment) for written assessment
Written feedback for exam
Eley, Geoff, Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Hobsbawm, Eric, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 (London: Penguin, 1994).
Jarausch, K. H., Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015).
Judt, Tony, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 (London: Penguin, 2005).
Kershaw, I., To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949 (London: Allen Lane, 2015).
Kershaw, I., Rollercoaster: Europe, 1950-2017 (London: Allen Lane, 2018).
Mazower, M., Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century (London: Penguin, 1999).
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Joanne Laycock||Unit coordinator|
|Christian Goeschel||Unit coordinator|